This winter’s Paddington has received our attention for all the wrong reasons so far. First, there was that terrifying image of the film’s stuffed bear that sparked the hilarious Creepy Paddington meme. Then, The Weinstein Company released a disappointing first trailer for the movie that made it appear to be a spiritual – albeit less gratingly non-musical – cousin to Alvin and the Chipmunks, of all things. Finally, we learned that Colin Firth, who had previously been set to voice Paddington, had dropped out of the project mid-way through production. Luckily for TWC though, it doesn’t appear that the film will be delayed, as Skyfall actor Ben Whishaw has just been set to lend his voice to the animated bear.
Though the British actor is certainly less of a household name than Firth, Whishaw’s star has been steadily rising over the past few years. He’s won fans with strong performances in Cloud Atlas, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, I’m Not There, Brideshead Revisited and The Tempest, and keen cinephiles may also remember him as Sidney in the excellent Layer Cake. Additionally, Whishaw has done great work on the small screen, starring in one season of British crime drama Criminal Justice then taking on a main role in two series of the BBC period mystery-drama The Hour. Although I’m having a hard time imagining his voice emanating from an animated bear, the talented actor shouldn’t have a problem bringing Paddington to life.
Or at least, we would hope. Firth apparently just wasn’t feeling it on set and eventually gave up on voicing the creature. He told Entertainment Weekly at the time of his departure:
“After a period of denial, we’ve chosen ‘conscious uncoupling.’ It’s been bittersweet to see this delightful creature take shape and come to the sad realization that he simply doesn’t have my voice.”
With voice-acting, this happens more often than one might think. Just look at Spike Jonze’s Her, for which Scarlett Johansson, providing the voice of virtual intelligence Samantha, courted awards buzz. That character’s lines were originally recorded by Samantha Morton, and Jonze brought in Johansson after becoming dissatisfied with how Samantha came across.
Paddington is still set to open on December 25th.
Source: The Playlist